President Kagame attends UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020

On 20 January 2020 at 12:17

President Kagame has joined other African leaders for the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. The UK and African countries anticipate new trading ambitions as the UK plans to definitely withdraw from the European Union (EU) by the end of January 2020.

21 African countries have attended the summit. 16 African countries are represented by their Heads of States including President Paul Kagame, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alpha Condé of Guinea and Peter Mutharika of Malawi. Liz Truss, UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade is also expected.

During the summit, the World Bank and Rwanda will sell to the London Stock Exchange, a 3-year denominated bond with a value of $40 million.

Different institutions from Rwanda are also expected in the summit including Bank of Kigali, Entreprise Urwibutso, Mara Phones, Rwanda Finance Ltd, Ampersand, Cogebanque, Africa Improved Foods, and Water Access Rwanda.

The summit will focus on renewable energy, housing and technology and further exploring trade opportunities between the UK and African countries.

Jo Lomas, the British High Commissioner to Rwanda recently announced that the UK will decisively sail free from the European Union on January 31st, 2020, a few days after Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party and Leave supporters voted in majority to leave the EU.

Ambassador Lomas said that the Brexit would not in any way affect the relations between Rwanda and the UK but will rather promote them as the UK will be able to negotiate its own trade terms after the Brexit.

“Since the UK will be able to negotiate its own trade terms, we expect our relations with Rwanda to flourish and that Rwanda will no longer incur the same export taxes as when the UK was part of the EU.”

The UK is one of the top countries where Rwanda exports its products. In the third quarter of 2019, UK was third on the list of countries receiving the most exports from Rwanda with 10.71% of all its exports earning $13.02 million.

The United Arab Emirates and the Democratic Republic of Congo were ranked first and second respectively. Rwanda mainly exports agricultural products including tea, coffee, vegetables, and fruits.

The UK has partnered in Rwanda in various development projects in the past. In 2011, the UK offered a grant worth €330 million (Rwf 317 billion) for 4 consecutive years. The grant was directed towards education, health, agriculture and improving the livelihoods of Rwandans.

In 2014, the UK offered another grant to Rwanda worth €330 to equally last for 4 years. In 2017, Rwanda and the U signed partnership agreements granting €64 million (Rwf 69 billion) for 2017/18 National Budget and €62 million (Rwf 67 billion) for 2018/19 National Budget.

Many institutions from the UK have invested in Rwanda including Unilever which signed a $30 million worth partnership agreement with the Government of Rwanda in 2016. The investment will allow Unilever to manage its industries and tea plantations located in Nyaruguru district, Kibeho and Munini sectors.

In 2015, Piran Resources Ltd invested $22 million in precious stones mining. BBOX has invested in providing off-grid electricity to Rwandan citizens through solar energy and Metalysis UK has recently announced a $16 million investment in Tin Ore mining in Bugesera district.

In the past, UK led international efforts to deal with poverty and debt in Africa and to train AU peacekeepers, and also shaped EU policies on development, security, immigration and human rights. The UK-Africa Investment Summit will discuss a change of emphasis from aid to trade.

President Kagame has joined other African leaders for the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.